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$195,000 in NEA project support announced for S.C.

Six S.C. organizations benefit

Six organizations from South Carolina in Aiken, the Charleston area, and Spartanburg were announced among the recipients of $33 million in nationwide arts project funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today.

A total of $195,000 is being spread among:
  • the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston ($85,000 for research grants in the arts)
  • Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston ($55,000 for presenting and multidisciplinary works)
  • Colour of Music, Inc.; Mount Pleasant ($20,000 for music projects)
  • Charleston Jazz, North Charleston ($15,000 for music projects)
  • the Aiken Symphony, Aiken ($10,000 for a Challenge America grant)
  • Hub City Writers Project, Spartanburg ($10,000 for literary projects)
The awards are part of the NEA's first round of recommended awards for fiscal year 2022, with 1,498 awards totaling nearly $33.2 million. Grants for Arts Projects funding spans 15 artistic disciplines and reaches communities in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Recipients of the Challenge America grant program, NEA Literature Fellowships in creative writing and translation, and support for arts research projects are also included in this announcement. “These National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grants underscore the resilience of our nation’s artists and arts organizations, will support efforts to provide access to the arts, and rebuild the creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “The supported projects demonstrate how the arts are a source of strength and well-being for communities and individuals, and can open doors to conversations that address complex issues of our time.” The NEA is committed to equity, access, and fostering mutual respect for the diverse beliefs and values of all individuals and groups. Applications for funding demonstrated a commitment by the arts and culture sector to provide more equitable and accessible pathways for arts engagement.

About the grants

Grants for Arts Projects Grants for Arts Projects (GAP) awards reach communities in all parts of the country, large and small, and with diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. There are 1,248 organizations recommended to receive cost share/matching grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for a total of $28,840,000. These awards represent 15 artistic disciplines/fields: Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Works, Theater, and Visual Arts. Applications were received in February 2021 from 1,879 eligible organizations requesting more than $92 million in support. Take note: The next Grants for Arts Projects application deadlines are Thursday, February 10, 2022, and Thursday, July 7, 2022. Visit arts.gov for guidelines and application resources and register for a Grants for Arts Projects guidelines webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, from 3-4 p.m. Challenge America Challenge America grants offer support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations that have limited access to the arts due to geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. There are 168 organizations recommended in this funding category for a total of $1,680,000. Each grant is for $10,000 and requires a minimum $10,000 cost share/match. Take note: The next Challenge America application deadline is Thursday, April 21, 2022. Visit arts.gov for guidelines and application resources and register for a Challenge America guidelines webinar on Tuesday, March 1, 2022, from 3-4 p.m. Literature Fellowships The National Endowment for the Arts will award $1.2 million in FY 2021 Literature Fellowships to creative writers and translators:
  • This includes 35 Creative Writing Fellowships of $25,000 each. These FY 2022 fellowships are in prose and enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career development.
  • The NEA approved fellowships to 24 translators ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 to translate works from 16 languages and 18 countries into English.
Learn more about these fellowships. Take note: The next deadline for Creative Writing Fellowships is Thursday, March 10, 2022. In 2022, the NEA is accepting applications in poetry. Research Awards The National Endowment for the Arts offers two funding opportunities to support arts research projects:
  • Through Research Grants in the Arts, 18 organizations are recommended for a total of $815,000. This program funds research studies that analyze the value and/or impact of the arts.
  • Five NEA Research Labs are recommended for funding totaling $648,784. Transdisciplinary research partnerships grounded in the social and behavioral sciences will examine and report on the benefit of the arts in non-arts sectors.
Learn more about these recommended arts research awards. The next Research Awards application deadline is Tuesday, March 29, 2022. Guidelines and application resources will be posted soon at arts.govRegister for a Research guidelines webinar on February 9, 2022, at 2 p.m. All of the recommended grants in this announcement were evaluated through the agency’s panel review process. First, applications are submitted for consideration to the agency and staff review them for eligibility and completeness. A panel of experts with knowledge and experience in their respective field then review and score each application in accordance with the published review criteria. Recommendations are then made to the National Council on the Arts. The council makes recommendations to the chair, who makes the final decision on all grant awards. The NEA assembles diverse panels every year with regard to geography, race and ethnicity, and artistic points of view. Learn more about the grant review process or volunteer to be a panelist.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. To learn more, visit arts.gov or follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Literally (spoiler: it’s about orchestras)

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


This morning we offer some news and notes from South Carolina orchestras. ICYMI: Three Mor-ihiko Years. The South Carolina Philharmonic announced a three-year contract extension for Music Director Morihiko Nakahara this week, keeping him in Columbia into (at least) 2022 for a total of (at least) 14 seasons. The Free Times caught up with the well-traveled maestro, who begins his 11th season, and the orchestra's 55th, Saturday, Sept. 29. Rock Hill Symphony debuts tomorrow night. Literally. As in, first-ever concert, not just new season. Pianist Marina Lomazov (an SCAC music performance fellowship recipient) is the featured soloist for the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto on Music Director David Rudge's premiere program, which also offers works by Berlioz, Rimsky-Korsakov, Smetana, and more. It is sold out (and has been), but check out the first season's offerings here. Season's greetings! Rock Hill joins 10 other professional orchestras in South Carolina. September and October are typically when orchestra season gets going. Here are start dates for others from around the Palmetto State: Did you have any idea South Carolina has so many orchestras? This doesn't even count the college and community orchestras. All 10 listed above will receive operating support (or more) from the S.C. Arts Commission in FY19.

Aiken Symphony Guild teaches students that music is instrumental

The Aiken Symphony Guild received a South Carolina Arts Commission Arts in Education grant to provide a youth concert series for students and teachers. From the Aiken Standard Article by Larry Wood; photos by Cindy Kubovic

[caption id="attachment_25246" align="alignright" width="250"]Regan Gregory, left, and Reese King perform Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins” at the Aiken Symphony Guild’s Children’s Concerts program Thursday at the Etherredge Center. Gregory and King won the senior division of the Guild’s Concerto Competition. Eliza King, winner of the junior division, performed at the program’s performance Wednesday. Regan Gregory, left, and Reese King perform Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins” at the Aiken Symphony Guild’s Children’s Concerts program Thursday at the Etherredge Center. Gregory and King won the senior division of the Guild’s Concerto Competition. Eliza King, winner of the junior division, performed at the program’s performance Wednesday.[/caption] When violinists Regan Gregory and Reese King took the stage to perform with the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, they had rehearsed together many times but had not practiced with the orchestra. Despite no preparation, the musicians, both high school seniors and winners of the Aiken Symphony Guild’s Senior Concerto Competition, played Bach’s “Concerto for Two Violins” flawlessly for elementary school students who filled USC Aiken’s Etherredge Center on Thursday morning. The concert was part of the Guild’s annual Children’s Concerts series. Over two days, the Guild’s music education program reached about 2,000 fifth-graders from Aiken and Edgefield counties. “We were a little nervous, but it’s always an awesome experience,” said Gregory, who attends Aiken High, after the concert. “I love it.” King, who is home-schooled, agreed. “It’s always fun,” he said. Gregory added that she especially loves performing for children. “A lot of them might say it’s boring, but a few might think it’s pretty cool and might want to try it,” she said. “It’s pretty cool to think that you might be a kid’s inspiration.” Fourth-grader Eliza King won the Junior Concerto Competition and performed the third movement of a concerto by Kuchler with the orchestra at the Children’s Concerts on Wednesday. All of the concerto winners are students of Joanne Stanford. Dr. Donald Portnoy, who conducted the symphony, opened the program with a tour of the orchestra from the string section to percussion, woodwinds and brass. When the French horn players held up their instruments made of coiled brass tubes, Portnoy joked, “That’s a lot of plumbing.” The program featured several children-friendly pieces. During the “Toy Symphony,” by Haydn, home-schooled students played toy instruments that might be found in a school music classroom: Craver King, small drum; Charis Hamic, triangle; Eliza King, train whistle; Serenity Hamic, toy cymbals; Sandi King, recorder; and Silver Hamic, guiro, a percussive instrument played with a wooden stick. Scott Chappell, who teaches music at Mossy Creek Elementary in North Augusta, narrated “Peter and the Wolf,” by Prokofiev. The instruments represented characters in the story – the flute as the bird, the clarinet as the cat, Peter as the strings and the French horns as the wolf – and gave the students a greater education of each instrument’s sound and role in the orchestra. To end the program, Bugs Bunny, one of the mascots of the Kids Club at Security Federal Bank, a sponsor of the Aiken Symphony Guild, danced around the stage to “Hoe-Down” from Aaron Copland’s ballet, “Rodeo.” Sharon Johnson, chairman of the Guild’s Children’s Concerts Committee, said helping young children develop a love for music is the purpose of the Children’s Concerts. When Johnson was a fifth-grader in Los Angeles, she attended her first opera, “Cinderella,” by Rossini. “I had never been exposed to opera, but I absolutely and positively fell in love with it,” said Johnson, a retired teacher. “That is still one of the most important memories of my childhood. I want to make sure that every child gets that experience.” And, from reports from ushers at the concerts, students do, Johnson said. “They say the children come in kind of ho-hum, but when they walk out, they are all smiles, totally engaged,” Johnson said. “That’s why we do it.” A grant from the S.C. Arts Commission helps the Aiken Symphony Guild fund the program. Above image: Dr. Donald Portnoy, conductor of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra, right, congratulates Charis Hamic, left, Eliza King, Sandi King, Serenity Hamic and Craver King for their performance on the “Toy Symphony” at the Aiken Symphony Guild’s Children’s Concerts series at the Etherredge Center. Silver Hamic, not pictured, also performed at the program for fifth-grade students from Aiken and Edgefield counties Thursday.

Aiken Symphony Orchestra’s debut deemed a success

From the Aiken Standard Article by Stephanie Turner, photos by Heather Sargent

Donald Portnoy conducting Aiken Symphony OrchestraOn Thursday, Sept. 17, Tom Hofstetter and Dr. Donald Portnoy's longtime vision of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra finally became a reality. "It was the end of a dream, and the beginning of something new," said Hofstetter. The USC Aiken Etherredge Center was almost full for the 7:30 p.m. Paremski Plays Tchaikovsky concert, presented by the Aiken Symphony Guild. The crowd hushed as David Tavernier, president of the organizing committee, and Em Ligon, co-president of Aiken Symphony Guild, came on stage. After their opening remarks, Aiken Mayor Fred Cavanaugh walked on stage, greeted by an applause, and read the City's proclamation declaring Thursday to Wednesday Aiken Symphony Orchestra week, and encouraged the community's support of the new endeavor. After their exit, the 50-piece professional orchestra stood as concertmaster and first violinist Mary Lee Taylor Kinosian entered. She tuned the orchestra and then nodded to another musician, marking the entrance of Portnoy, the conductor. The presentation of the colors was followed by the orchestra playing Francis Scott Key's "The Star-Spangled Banner," which the audience sang. After intermission, when the orchestra settled back into their positions, Russian pianist and the night's soloist Natasha Paremski entered in a sequined gown and jeweled headband and took a spot she's taken frequently since she was 4 - on the piano bench. The concert concluded with a standing ovation, one so persistent that Portnoy and Paremski left and returned to the stage's front multiple times. "It couldn't have gone better," Paremski said. "The orchestra was exhilarating, and the audience was very enthusiastic. ... I was honored to be a part of it." After Paremski went to the lobby and sold and signed some of her CDs, she ascended the stairs to a reception hosted by USCA Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan for Tim Simmons, for whom the concert was dedicated. Simmons, who was being honored for his efforts in the arts and the Aiken community, was presented with the baton Portnoy used during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" and a certificate of appreciation. "I was absolutely delighted," Hofstetter said of the Aiken Symphony Orchestra's inaugural concert. "The turnout was spectacular." The orchestra will perform at 3 p.m. Oct. 4 for the Aiken Symphony Guild's Horses and Harmony event at Windswept Farm, 114 Larkspur Road, Wagener, and with the Beijing Guitar Duo at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Etherredge Center, 471 University Parkway. For more information, visit www.aikensymphonyorchestra.com or www.aikensymphonyguild.org or call 803-648-0364 or 803-641-3305.